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From Communication to Conversations: Expanding Language Development in the Early Childhood Years


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Children’s language use grows dramatically throughout the toddler and preschool years. Words and phrases expand daily and children begin to form sentences that go beyond sharing their preferences. Their speech sounds continue to develop and include both predictable, and sometimes adorable, error patterns. Pre-literacy skills also emerge during this developmental window and lay the foundation for academic success as children approach elementary school. In this webinar, the presenters will discuss decontextualized language, early developing morphemes, timelines for phonological processes, and preliteracy achievements during the preschool years as well as when to worry that a child’s speech and language doesn’t seem to be progressing as expected.

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From Communication to Conversations: Expanding Language Development in the Early Childhood Years

  1. 1. FD Title Slide 2 From Communication to Conversations: Expanding Language Development in the Early Childhood Years Thanks for joining us! We will get started soon. While you’re waiting you can get handouts etc. by following the link below
  2. 2. Connecting military family service providers and Cooperative Extension professionals to research and to each other through engaging online learning opportunities MFLN Intro Sign up for webinar email notifications at
  3. 3. FD Title Slide 4 From Communication to Conversations: Expanding Language Development in the Early Childhood Years
  4. 4. Juliann Woods, Ph. D., SLP-CCC •SLP & EI trained •Mom/Grandma •Enjoys working vacations… •Autism and Caregiver coaching Today’s Presenters 5 Mollie Romano, Ph. D., SLP-CCC •FSU – CSD •Mom of 2 girls •Needs a vacation! •Early Communication Development P h o to s u s e d w ith p e rm is s io n , J . W o o d s & M . R o m a n o
  5. 5. 6 From Communication to Conversations: Expanding Language Development in the Early Childhood Years P h o to s p in .c o m /M o n k e y B u s in e s s Im a g e s 6
  6. 6. Learner Objectives Participants will be able to: 1. List the four key early developing morphemes that allow toddlers to make sentences 2. Understand decontextualized language and why it is an important milestone in a toddler s development 3. Explain three common phonological processes and indicators for concern related to a child s speech 4. Describe three major preliteracy achievements preschoolers master and why these skills support later reading abilities 7
  7. 7. • Growth in gesture use during transition from one word to two-word combinations • Toddlers begin to combine a gesture and word to create two-part meanings (point+ word bottle=I want the bottle!) Gestures Revisited Heads Up – Here’s a Handout! 8
  8. 8. Grammatical Morphemes: Inflections added to words to indicate aspects of grammar – What in the world is a morpheme? – Appear between the ages of 18-24 months, around the 50 word productive mark – Many of a child’s early words are nouns, but they need to add some verbs and modifiers to be able to combine words! – What are some early combinations you have heard lately? Early Grammar Emerges 9
  9. 9. What are some early combinations you have heard lately? 10 TIME TO CHAT
  10. 10. /2013/11/clinical-skills-confidence-14-early-developing-m orphem es.htm l Brown’s Grammatical Morphemes 11
  11. 11. Early Stage I (MLU* 1-1.5) – Declarative: Agent + action (mommy eat); Action + object (Go car!) – Negation: No, gone, all gone; no + object (no car) – Interrogative: Single word with rising intonation – Conjoining: Serial listing without ”and” (dog, kitty, pig) Brown’s Stages *MLU = Mean Length of Utterance Heads Up – Here’s a Handout! 12
  12. 12. Early Stage II (MLU 1.5-2.0) – Declarative: Subject + verb + object (Tia get cup) – Negation: no and not used – Interrogative: What + object + doing (What cat doing?) – Prepositions in and on appear – Conjoining: Uses word “and” (dog, kitty, and pig) Brown’s Stages Image from 13
  13. 13. • Gives the ability to talk about events outside of the “here and now” • Gives rise to early narrative development about stories and events that are meaningful to the child Increasing Grammatical Complexity Image from 14
  14. 14. How can we help children learn to tell simple stories? How can we coach military families to support this skill when one parent is deployed? 15 TIME TO CHAT
  15. 15. • Children’s worlds expand rapidly during this period! • Back and forth conversations with peers and adults emerge • Characteristics of early conversations Combining Words to Conversations 16
  16. 16. • Delays in combining words • Delays in progressing through stages • Gap between receptive and expressive language skills (some states do not consider this gap for eligibility) • Difficulty in retaining new language forms that are being taught When to Worry Image from 17
  17. 17. Infants are wired to learn multiple languages from birth. Image from Ryabokon, CC0 18
  18. 18. What is the difference between Simultaneous Dual Language Learners and Sequential Dual Language Learners? 19 TIME TO CHAT
  19. 19. • Simultaneous Dual Language Learners – Learning two or more languages at the same time • Sequential Dual Language Learners – Learned one language, then acquired a second • Military communities see plenty of both! Dual Language Learners Image from Duplass, CC0 20
  20. 20. • Likely to have a language that is more dominant • Reaches milestones on a similar time frame as monolingual children, but there may be very subtle differences • No major delays expected because of learning two languages at once Typical Patterns for Simultaneous Learners Image from 21
  21. 21. Several distinct phases – Home language use – “Silent” period - observing and listening – Use of short phrases, telegraphic language – Selected use of new language – More fluid use of new language Sequential Learners Image by Emmanuelle, CC0 22
  22. 22. Have you had experiences abroad working through these phases? What did it take to move to the next level”? 23 TIME TO CHAT Phases – Home Language Use – “Silent” Period – Short Phrases/Telegraphic Language – Selected Use – Fluid Use
  23. 23. Maintaining growth and development in native language is key! Image from Dolgachov, CC0 24
  24. 24. Red Flags – Simultaneous Learner • Low rates of communication – Few gestures – Words, word approximations, and word combinations in either language – Difficulty retaining new word labels when taught – Challenges with short and long term verbal memory – Sequential learner • Error patterns – Not attributable to the influence of first language Difference or Disorder in Dual Language Learners 25
  25. 25. Speech Sound Development G oldm an-Fristoe Test of Articulation, Second Edition (G FTA-2). Copyright © 2000 NCS Pearson, Inc. Reproduced with perm ission. All rights reserved. 26
  26. 26. Ages 2 to 3 – Use a wider range of speech sounds – Many children will shorten longer words such as saying • e.g. nana instead of banana – May also have difficulty with many sounds together in a word • e.g. pider instead of 'spider – Sounds like sh, ch, th and r can be problematic • Can still be understood in context by those familiar to the child Further Development of Speech Sounds 27
  27. 27. Ages 3 to 4 – Difficulties with a small number of sounds • e.g. r, w, l, f, th, sh, ch and dz. Ages 4 to 5 – Use most sounds effectively. – May have some difficulties with more difficult words • e.g. 'scribble' or 'elephant'. Further Development of Speech Sounds 28
  28. 28. Cara • Cara is 24 months and her vocabulary is exploding. • She says new words every day, combines them, and is building short sentences. • But…not everyone knows what she is saying. – Goggy go tar – Ensy weensy pider – Faw down – Tootie (cookie) – Fu (shoe) – Bok (block) 29 Do you have a concern? Is it developmental? Why/Why not? Should you refer? What sounds should she have and what should you not worry about? Image from, CC0
  29. 29. Luke • Luke is 4 and his language is fine. • He has a good vocabulary, uses sentences and questions appropriately including compound and complex variations. • But…he is hard to understand and family members are commenting. – Say he “ped the gog with Bue Buppwlo (fed the dog with Blue Buffalo) – Asks if he “tan wide hiz twike” (can ride his trike) – p/f and d/g, w/l w/r 30 Do you have a concern? Is it developmental? Why/Why not? Should you refer? What sounds should she have and what should you not worry about? Image from, CC0
  30. 30. Nelly • Nelly sounds like she is spitting when she speaks. • It isn’t the usual lisp (th/s). • It’s most pronounced on sh, ch but also noticeable on the s. • She seems to use a lot of those sounds. 31 Do you have a concern? Is it developmental? Why/Why not? Should you refer? What sounds should she have and what should you not worry about? Image from, CC0
  31. 31. Further Considerations Image from Business Images, CC0 32
  32. 32. • Phonological processes persist • Unusual error patterns – Initial consonant deletion – Glottal stop substitution – Backing (time becomes “gime”; push becomes “puk”) – Substituting fricative sounds for stop sounds (sit becomes “sis”) • Children should be 75 % intelligible by age 3 Speech Sound Disorder 33
  33. 33. • What is CAS? • How prevalent is it in very young children (under 5)? • How do you diagnosis it? • How do you support children with families in the military? Childhood Apraxia of Speech Image from, CC0 34
  34. 34. A neurologically based motor speech disorder – Not characterized by muscle weakness/paralysis – Difficulty with planning and coordinating motor speech movements – Speech is more intelligible with imitation as opposed to spontaneous speech – Error patterns are often inconsistent – Prosody (or intonational patterns) are affected and can sound monotone What is Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)? 35
  35. 35. • Very difficult clinical determination • Often over diagnosed • Very difficult to diagnose before age three • Some temporary diagnoses may be used if suspected • What do interventions look like? – Everyday Routines and Activities – Intensive Interventions • Motor planning approaches • Multiple visual and tactile cues How do you know it is CAS? 36
  36. 36. Augmentative and Alternative Communication (or AAC) are the different ways to communicate in addition to, or in replacement of, speech or writing Augmentative and Alternative Communication s-com m unication Image by Poule at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 Image by Poule at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 ImagebyPouleatEnglishWikipedia,CCBY-SA3.0 37
  37. 37. • What is fluency and normal non-fluency in the preschool years? • How prevalent is it? • How do you diagnosis it? • How do you support children with families in the military? Fluency Image from Griessel/Creatista, CC0 38
  38. 38. • Life long skill • Strong predictor of later reading skills • Enhances social and communication skill development + • Fun • Likely to be delayed in young children with language impairment (LI) Early or Emergent Literacy,CC0 39
  39. 39. What can I find here? – Tip sheets for educators and parents – Mini-posters with literacy focused content – Reminder lists with strategies to use Center for Early Literacy Learning (CELL) Heads Up – Here’s a Handout! 40
  40. 40. Emergent Literacy Resources Heads Up – Here’s a Handout! 41
  41. 41. Emergent Literacy Resources 42
  42. 42. Meet Zion! He is three years old and attends childcare in the community. His mom, Jessica, is an army medic, and is worried about his development. Image from Tatiana, CC0 43 43 43
  43. 43. Jessica reports that he uses single words, but she hears kids in his school talking in longer phrases. She originally thought he was a late talker, like her brother was. Image from Tatiana, CC0 44
  44. 44. Zion’s teachers are a little worried, too. However, they say he follows directions well and participates well with the group. Image from Tatiana, CC0 45
  45. 45. What should Zion be doing around three years of age? • Language • Conversations • Speech sounds • Early literacy skills 46 Image from Tatiana, CC0 46
  46. 46. 47 Image from Images, CC0 How can his team look at his language more closely?
  47. 47. Connect with MFLN Family Development Online! MFLN Family Development MFLN Family Development @mflnfd Talk About it Tuesday: #MFLNchat MFLN Family Development To subscribe to our MFLN Family Development newsletter send an email to: with the Subject: Subscribe FD social media 48
  48. 48. Evaluation and CE Credit 49 Through the Early Intervention Training Program at the University of Illinois, providers in Illinois can receive 1.5 hours of Early Intervention credit. Several states other than Illinois have already agreed to recognize CE units from this webinar. They are: Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and service coordinators in Washington. All participants may receive a certificate of completion from this webinar after completing an evaluation and post-test. This certificate can sometimes be used to apply for CE credits with your credentialing body if you are not an Illinois provider. Links and further information will be available at the end of today’s presentation
  49. 49. Webinar participants who want to receive a certificate of continuing education (or just want proof of participation in the training) need to take this post-test AND evaluation: CE certificates of completion will be automatically emailed to participants upon completion of the post-test & evaluation. §Questions/concerns surrounding CE credit certificates can be emailed to this address: §Sometimes state/professional licensure boards recognize CE credits from other states. However, it is necessary to check with your state and/or professional boards if you need CE credits for your field. CE Credit Information 50 50
  50. 50. For more information on MFLN FD Early Intervention go to: Small Talk: Strategies to support child communication before words emerge Sept. 27, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern FD Early Intervention Upcoming Event 51
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